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What is aortic valve stenosis?

Aortic valve stenosis is when the valve leaflets between the heart and aorta (the main artery leading away from the heart) have narrowed and do not permit enough blood to exit the heart and travel to the rest of the body. A valve can narrow because the flaps have grown thick or stiff or have grown together.

Your physician may prescribe several types of medication to help treat the symptoms of aortic valve stenosis. Possible medications include diuretics to reduce fluid retention in the body, anticoagulants or “blood-thinners” to discourage blood clots and medications to control the heart’s rhythm.

If your aortic valve is seriously narrowed, your physician may recommend surgery or a procedure called valvuloplasty to stretch the valve open. Surgery for aortic valve stenosis consists of valve replacement either with a mechanical valve or a tissue valve from a human, pig or cow. If valvuloplasty is indicated, a cardiologist will thread a tube called a catheter through a vein in the groin, and through your artery to the site of the valve. A small balloon attached to the catheter will open and close, stretching the valve and improving blood flow.
 

Aortic valve stenosis—one of the more serious and most common valve diseases in the United States—occurs when the heart's aortic valve narrows, preventing the valve from opening fully. Blood flow into the main artery of the body (aorta) is blocked or reduced, and the heart is forced to work harder as it pumps blood to the body. Symptoms associated with severe aortic stenosis include shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, fainting, dizziness and palpitations or heart pounding.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.